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seat pain... ouch!


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i am on my 3rd seat.. this one was custom made with gel inserts from my stock seat.. i was just doing some research and found exactly what's happening to me:


The nerve pain some riders encounter down the back of the left leg, is the result of coccyx-supported posture. The pressure is transferred to the lowermost vertebrae which, in turn, pinches the sciatic nerve.


when using my stock seat i would use approx 2 inches of foam in the front (to stop me from sliding foward).. then put a gel pad on top.. that seemed to work the best.. now i have a reshaped stock seat by a custom seat maker with gel inserst.. and i am suffering from the pain described above..


any suggestions? thank you .. was looking forward to a Adirondack run tomorrow..

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... should i try and put the seat in the highest position? its in the 2nd postion now.. just wondering if that could help?


There's only one way to find out.



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You don't have that pain during everyday activities do you? I remember a time (2 yrs ago) when I suffered from the same pain you described. I ended up needing back surgery to remove the L5-S1 disc (ruptured). I bought the 1150RT for a better riding position, because my Honda Superhawk could no longer be riden comfortably. Take care of yourself first, then seat on the bike. FWIW


- Jason

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nope , not every day pain.. bicycle ride approx 200 miles a week, jog, lift weights.. this pain is from a bad seat and or seating position..


thank you all for your support.. seems no one interested in this topic.. just came back from 200 mile ride.. put 1" of foam near front of seat.. then covered with gel pad.. a quick fix.. just need to find the right seat... sargent didnt work out.. next maybe corbin..?


fyi: all i want to do is ride and stop for fuel.. i see a lot of you ride way over 300/day.. cant be that difficult to find the right seat?

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just need to find the right seat... sargent didnt work out.. next maybe corbin..?


I strongly suggest you look into something custom. Corbin and Sargent are pretty much standard generic seats.


Rusell Day Long is probably the best-known custom comfort saddle that consistently gets the best reviews. Ideally, you need to be there at the shop gettin the seat made for you with you, your gear, and your bike there. I know they do "mail in" deals as well and they'll use pictures and stuff to get it done but it's better if you can be there in person.

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Lots of us have disc problems yet most seem to be able to find something that gives at least enough comfort to allow long days on the saddle. I had stock seat that was barely better than a custom made Corbin. My Russel was tolerable but my Bailey's is super on the R11. I have a gel insert cover on the KLR seat which I find very comfortable on long tirms, and the stock VStrom seat is THE most comfortable seat I have ever used. So, keep trying, but the suggestion that you likely have a disc issue anyway may be the crux of your problem. From a guy with who has dealt with 3 bad discs, without surgery.

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I had sciatic pain as a result of two herniated discs in the lumbar-sacral region. Pilates (on machines, not mats) is what worked for me. Build up your core strength to support your back, then worry about a seat that supports your butt.

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Build up your core strength to support your back


+1 on that.


I try to do 15 minutes a day of exercises concentrated on range of motion and back muscle strength. Isn't getting old just wonderfull!!!



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if you read the post.. i said i did a 200 mile run yesterday with a foam pad in the front of the seat with a gel pad over it.. that seemed to work fine.. so again, i need to find the right seat. its not my back.

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I raised the front seat support 1/2" using directions found here:



I used 1/2" thick plastic blocks not the washers. It gave me a much better riding position, no sliding forward . I suffer from chronic sciatic pain but not when I ride.

Just my .02.

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You do have some people trying to help you here. Yes. You can monkey around with changing your seating position by adding foam, gel pads, etc. And, your problem may--or may not--be your back. It is possible that the foam, gel, etc. are mitigating your pain by compensating for a core structural problem. My car seat hurts my back but if I put a lumbar cushion or seat pad that changes my position, my pain goes away. If that's not the answer you want to hear, okay. No need to get snippy about it though.


If the front of your seat is too low, have you tried raising it with seat jacks or

shimming the saddle?


The Corbin seat is very bench-like with a much harder, somewhat flatter surface than some others. That works well for some, much lke a hard bicycle seat.


The Russell is a suspension seat, built with a spring and strap system, like a good auto seat. A ride in will net the best results. This is especially true of Corbin.


These seats, especially the Russell, are custom. Briefly riding one that was made for someone else won't tell you much.


You didn't say, in your original post, what seats you've tried so I won't keep listing seats. Good luck.

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I think you answered your own question in the second paragraph of your original post. The pain is a result of coccyx supported posture. Got bar backs? Get rid of them and read and practice the basics of the Master Yoda Riding Position. This will get the weight off your coccyx and onto the backs of your thighs where it belongs. Strengthening your core muscles will help a whole bunch with your move to the new riding position.

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if you read the post.. i said i did a 200 mile run yesterday with a foam pad in the front of the seat with a gel pad over it.. that seemed to work fine.. so again, i need to find the right seat. its not my back.


I beg to differ. If you've got sciatic pain, it's your back. Different seats providing different riding positions may alleviate your pain, but the root cause is still your back. I don't blame you for not liking that answer, but that doesn't make it wrong.


By all means go with a different seat. The stocker is terrible.

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thanks all for the help.. i think if i raise the seat in the front.. it will relieve the pressure on my back.. a few monhts ago there was a post on how to install seat jacks.. just searched the site and cant find it.. can that person please post agian.. thank you very much..

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The Russel seat will have a steel spring suspension like one would find in furniture (the originator of this design was a furniture maker whose last name was Mayer who sold the patent to Russel). That type construction works better for more robust folks.


Rick Mayer is one of the sons of that designer chap and utilizes various density foams to shape the seat and provide firmness and softness where necessary. I went to his shop near Anderson,CA (about 12 miles south of Redding off the I-5) and my new seat was designed for my butt. The ride up (about a thousand miles each way) on the factory seat was pure discomfort interspersed with momentary relief when I used my Air Hawk seat pad, but I could barely touch the ground when sitting on the pad. The trip home was far more comfortable an I did not need the Air Hawk pad.


I also learned while at the shop that the corners in jean pockets can create pressure points on the butt that lead to pain and numbness. Rick suggests, as a former competitor in the Iron Butt Rally, that one wears under garments and pants with no seams on the butt side. Makes ense to me!


YMMV wave.gif

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this is an old topic around here. the RT seems to be a difficult bike to get a good seat on. my theory is that the front to rear distance on the rider's seat is too compact, sort of like a horse saddle that is a size too small. but the horse saddle is easily corrected with a larger size, on the bike, the seat maker and rider are really stuck with basically one position, so it better be a good one. I tried comfort, old stock, corbin, wunderlich and one of the Mayer brothers - no joy. Bought a CBaileys and while my spine is good, there are 2 pressure points on my inner thiegh area that get old after 300 miles or so. i don't know if it is an issue for you, but aftermarket seats generally make you sit taller so inseam may be an issue. my previous bikes, a 97 RS and 84 RS had basically flat seats and were very easy to fit with custom seats + you could slide around.

best of luck.

Tom Collins

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